How to Get Rid of Slices in Illustrator

by Elizabeth Mott
Complex artwork can generate numerous slices depending on the method you use.

Complex artwork can generate numerous slices depending on the method you use.

When you use Adobe Illustrator to build website graphics, you slice your work so you can optimize each part of a complex piece of artwork in the appropriate graphic file format -- for example, PNG or JPEG for a photo versus GIF for a solid-color element. Slices convert to table cells when you export your work. To clear slices away, choose your deletion method based on the way you created them in the first place.

Slice-Tool Slices

To select and delete slices that you created with the Slice tool, start by choosing the "Slice Select" tool, nested with the Slice tool in the Adobe Illustrator toolbox. Click on a slice you want to delete and hold "Shift" while clicking on additional slices to add them to the selection. When you press the "Backspace" key to delete the slices you chose, Illustrator also deletes any slices it created to accommodate the slice you drew with the Slice tool. For example, if you create a single slice in the middle of a piece of artwork, Illustrator also slices the surrounding area, and deletes those slices along with your user-created slice.

"Make" Menu Commands

When you select an object or objects in an Adobe Illustrator file, open the "Object" menu's "Slice" submenu and choose "Make," Illustrator slices the selection along with any other objects on your current artboard. The "Make" command creates an individual slice the same size as each selected object. If you alter the underlying objects, these slices change in size along with your artwork. Reversing this slicing process requires a trip back to the "Object" menu's "Slice" submenu to choose the "Release" command. If you attempt to unslice the artwork by deleting the slices, Illustrator deletes the artwork, too.

Other Menu Commands

The slices you create with Adobe Illustrator's other slice-creation menu commands cover the aggregate dimensions of the set of objects you select, not the sizes of individual objects within the selection. These commands include "Create From Selection" and "Create From Guides." To delete these slices, you can open the Layers panel, twirl open the disclosure triangle in front of the name of your active layer, and locate and select the slices just like any other items within the list of layer objects. Once you select slices in this fashion, you can press "Backspace" to delete them without affecting your artwork.

Other Considerations

If you're having trouble deleting a slice that you created with a "Make" command, you may have locked the slice, which prevents you from altering it in any way. Open the "View" menu, look for a check mark in front of the "Lock Slices" item and click on the menu item to clear it. Because the slices you create with this command don't show up in the Layers panel, you can't unlock them there. Visit the Layers panel to lock and unlock the slices you create with the Slice tool and Illustrator's other slice-making menu commands.

Version Information

Information in this article applies to Adobe Illustrator CS6 and Adobe Illustrator CC. It may differ slightly or significantly with other versions or products.

About the Author

Elizabeth Mott has been a writer since 1983. Mott has extensive experience writing advertising copy for everything from kitchen appliances and financial services to education and tourism. She holds a Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts in English from Indiana State University.

Photo Credits

  • photo_camera Justin Sullivan/Getty Images News/Getty Images